Chapter 180: I’ll Buy Them Myself
Ren Zhixian felt that it was beneath his dignity to deal with money in person. Seeing Cui Bao bring the box over, he waved his hand and said with a look that showed that he did not care, “Count how much there is!”
“Yes, Lord!” Cui Bao’s eyes glimmered. Matters like counting money were her favourite task. Even though it was not her money, it still gave her a gratifying feeling as she counted!
“Lord, there is a total of eighty six silvers and four coppers!” Cui Bao quickly and efficiently counted the money and hid a few silvers when Ren Zhixian was not looking before reporting with a smile.
“Just this little!” Ren Zhixian, who was resting on the couch with his eyes closed, opened his eyes as he questioned her in disbelief, “Did you really count properly?”
Cui Bao’s heart raced. She was afraid that he might have found out about the silvers she had hidden and she quickly nodded anxiously, “Yes, this servant has counted properly. There is only so much. If Lord doesn’t believe me, then Lord can count again!”
“Alright, Alright!” Ren Zhixian waved his hand impatiently. Eighty six silvers, this little amount of money would not even be enough for him to foot the bill in a restaurant in the past, so what could he do with such a small sum of money?
Ren Zhixian got up and rushed back into another room. He forcefully pushed open the door, letting a gust of cold air in, which shocked Shi Yumei who was lost in her thoughts. Recognizing that it was him, she spoke with a bad temperament, “What’s wrong with you! You almost scared me to death! There’s only that much money left, and I did not keep any of it! You can do whatever you want with it!”
Ren Zhixian was stumped and could not even question her. He had wanted to ask Shi Yumei if Wang Shi had given her any private allowance. A mother wouldn’t be stingy, right? Surely there should be at least a few hundred silvers, right? But after giving it much thought, he felt that he could not lower his dignity in order to ask. His gaze swept across the furniture in the house, and just by his eyes, he could tell that the decorations and furniture were expensive. After all, he was born from a rich household to begin with. He could just sell a few and get a sum of money! But this was just as hard to bring up.
He had a character to uphold!
“Where’s Cui Zhu?” Ren Zhixian asked as he did not see her anywhere.
Shi Yumei replied coldly, “I wanted to be alone, so I asked her to leave!”
Ren Zhixian snorted and sat down as he said coldly, “You’re right. We are lodging in your parent’s home so we should be more tactful and not cause them trouble!”
Shi Yumei brightened up, thinking that he had thought things through, but before she could speak, Ren Zhixian continued, “So I have decided to sell Cui Zhu away! That way, we will have one less person to feed and can save some rations for the Shi Household!”
“What!” Shi Yumei flared up and stood up to shout, “I dare you!”
“Why wouldn’t I dare!” Ren Zhixian also became angry and he stood up while sneering at her, “She is mine, and also a servant. Do I not have the power to sell her?”
“You!” Shi Yumei’s heart shook coldly as she stared at Ren Zhixian in disbelief. She thought that he had sorted out his thoughts, but she was wrong! He was clearly doing this on purpose!
He knew that her relationship with Cui Zhu was the best, so he said so purposely in order to aggravate her.
Shi Yumei was feeling aggrieved. She was so considerate towards him; she took care of him, empathized with him, and took care of matters that he could not be bothered to handle, but this was what she received in return.
“Don’t you dare!” Shi Yumei gritted her teeth and said, “Cui Zhu is a servant who follows me, you have no right to sell her! If you want to sell someone, sell your Cui Bao!”
Ren Zhixian sneered, “Your servant who follows you? Even you belong to the Ren family, let alone a servant! I will call for the middleman to come over right now, let’s see what you can do about it!”
Shi Yumei said angrily, “Alright then! You can try and see if I, the eldest daughter of the Shi family, do not give my approval, who will dare to take my people away!”
Ren Zhixian was taken aback and he glared at Shi Yumei gloomily, “Shi Yumei, don’t you cross the line! I, Ren Zhixian, will not be trampled by you forever! Don’t think that you and your family are amazing just because of some stinky money!”
“I have nothing to talk to you about!” Shi Yumei was too angry to get any angrier, “Our Shi family has never looked down on you. It was you who wanted to think of it that way, don’t force it on us!”
“Is that so?” Ren Zhixian sneered, “Food handed out in contempt and you still want me to be deeply grateful? So everything is my fault! Hmph! And you, if “your” Shi family is so great, then don’t ever think about stepping foot in our Ren family forever!” Ren Zhixian kicked over a chair beside him and walked away.
Shi Yumei stared blankly within the empty house. It was undoubtedly warm like spring, but she felt shivers through her body.
Ren Zhixian placed the silver he had in a cloth and kept it with him. He then ordered Cui Bao to retrieve and put on his cloak as he walked out of the Shi household in a fit of pique.
He did not believe that he would not be able to survive without the Shi family! In this huge Qingzhou city, would he not be able to buy a few cheap yet fitting gifts?
Ren Zhixian roamed the streets for a long while, gazing at the passing crowds, the big hanging crimson lanterns decorated with colored ribbons to give off a festive feel, the shops on both sides of the street with years of history, and started to feel miserable from the bottom of his heart. He suddenly felt discouraged and dejected.
Very soon, his feelings took a drastic change into a limitless hate. The Shi family, it’s all because of them! They watched me as I remain a down and out, shamed me, and treated me coldly! But wait until I become successful, I will trample over them all the way into the mud!
Ren Zhi Xian stomped his foot fiercely and snorted, he asked around for directions to the street with lots of antique, calligraphy, and painting shops before hiring a carriage to take him there.
During the New Year, business was good for antique, calligraphy, and painting shops as most customers would come to buy gifts for others. And so, many shops displayed their brightly colored, presentable, and good quality goods for potential customers to choose.
Ren Zhixian still had still some understanding of his situation and did not go for any high end shops with a reputable history as he knew that he would not be able to afford even a piece of quality paper with the money that he had! However, a small and ordinary shop was not worth his time; even stopping for a moment in front of such shops seemed like a disgrace for himself!
While picking a shop, he was almost at the end of the street and he realized that he could not carry on without choosing one to patronize!
Ren Zhixian stood outside a shop for a long while before he finally entered it. It was a painting and calligraphy shop called Si Ya Tang.
With one look, the shopkeeper could tell that his clothes and cloak were expensive. He hurriedly smiled and greeted Ren Zhixian politely, “Young man, can I help you with what you’re looking for? High quality Four Treasures of the Study, famous calligraphies and paintings; whatever it is, this humble shop has everything and will surely satisfy your demands!”
Ren Zhixian subconsciously touched the location where he placed his money. There was a slight feeling of guilt within him and he couldn’t help but be sullen and annoyed: When did I, Ren Zhixian, fall into this situation where I cannot open my mouth freely to buy what I want? Mengxian was so much better! Which store or restaurant there would not treat him like an ancestor and present their best goods to let him choose freely, and let him pay by credit?
However, what he did not know was that the reason they had let him pay by credit was not because of his reputation, but because of the Shi family.
“Ai,” Ren Zhixian clenched his fist and let out a slight cough before he asked calmly, “Is there any good quality Four Treasures of the Study? Take a few sets out and let me have a look.” He actually liked the painting of a maid with a hairpin and red plum flowers in the snow, but he knew that it was expensive with just a look; at least not something he could afford with the amount he had now.
“Ah, wonderful!” The shopkeeper said joyously and asked with a smile, “May I ask whether they will be for self-use or as a gift?”
“As a gift,” Ren Zhixian replied, “Bring out the better ones!”
“Oh! Is it for your friends? Relatives? Maybe even your elders or juniors?” The shopkeeper hurriedly smiled and asked, “Young man, please don’t mind my long windedness, but I’ll be able to help you choose the most appropriate ones! Your reputation will definitely get a boost!”
Ren Zhixian was originally getting irritated and about to flare up, but after hearing what the shopkeeper said, he unknowingly stopped and nodded with a smile as he answered, “It’s for my friends, please choose the better ones for me!”
“Ah!” The shopkeeper smiled and said, “If it is for friends, we’ve got three tiers: good, medium, and subpar. Should I pick the best tier for you?”
Ren Zhixian wanted to ask how much the best tier would cost him, but he could not bring himself to ask. He vaguely nodded his head and asked, “Does it come in a set? With the brush, ink, paper, and ink stone all included?”
“Yes, yes! There’s also a packaging to come with it! This humble shop’s packaging is impressive, you will be able to send it as a gift right after stepping out of here. It’s both convenient, good value, and also presentable too! Young man, how about these two sets? If you’re not satisfied, there are many other different designs for you to choose from!” As the shopkeeper spoke, he had already brought over two sets and placed them on the counter before opening it for Ren Zhixian to see.
The packaging had a golden silk base, and it was partitioned into four spaces, just right for the four items that made a set. It looked lavish yet had a low-profile which greatly fulfilled the elegance that educated people were after.
Seeing Ren Zhixian’s expression, the shopkeeper knew that their business was more or less set in stone, so he smiled and asked, “How about it? Are you satisfied with them? I’m not sure how many sets you would like; we still have many other different designs!”
“En, not bad, it’s not bad!” Ren Zhixian nodded his head vaguely, his hands on the counter subconsciously tightened and loosened repeated but he still could not gather himself together to ask for the price.
The shopkeeper was slightly stunned for a moment and he secretly sized Ren Zhixian up from head to toe. Feeling puzzled, he thought to himself: is this man a scrooge? Definitely not! His clothing, complexion, and the presence he gives off doesn’t seem like it! Or—— is he some scoundrel who’s spending is controlled tightly? That cannot be so, if he were a scoundrel, he would be at a gambling house or going to brothels, he wouldn’t have come here to this shop!
“Young man, do you want me to wrap them up and send them to your household later? May I know which household you’re from?” The shopkeeper smiled and said as he took an indirect approach.
Ren Zhixian was pleased. That’s right, when the gifts reached the household, would they not pay? Unless they want to sully their own reputation!
“Sure!” Ren Zhixian said delightfully, “I want these two sets. Get me another four more of these but with different designs and send them to Qingzhou City’s richest Shi household later!”
“Shi household?” The shopkeeper was shocked. He hesitated and replied with a smile, “May I ask if you are the Shi household’s ——”
Ren Zhixian’s face became stern and he groaned, “What? Do I look like a cheat?”
“No, no! I do not mean that!” The shopkeeper hurriedly smiled and said, “Listen! It’s only that, you do not seem to be any of the three young master from the Shi family so that got me curious so I asked! Young man, please do not blame me because the Shi family also has their own calligraphy, painting, and tools shop, so why would you——would you come all the way here to my shop?
Seeing that there was also no servant with him, the shopkeeper became even more suspicious.